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Goatwhore - "Vengeful Ascension" (CD)

Goatwhore - "Vengeful Ascension" CD cover image

"Vengeful Ascension" track listing:

1. Forsaken
2. Under the Flesh, Into the Soul
3. Vengeful Ascension
4. Chaos Arcane
5. Where the Sun is Silent
6. Drowned in Grim Rebirth
7. Abandon Indoctrination
8. Mankind Will Have No Mercy
9. Decayed Omen Reborn
10. Those Who Denied God’s Will

Reviewed by on June 23, 2017

"When a veteran death metal band such as Goatwhore creates new material for a seventh full-length album, there’s a good chance that the group is going to mix it up at some point. Such is the case with 'Vengeful Ascension.'"

When you think of Goatwhore what comes to mind? Finger and neck breaking riffing and rhythm changes? Satanic lyrical content and imagery? A little bit of NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) thrown in for good measure? If you thought of any of these things, you’ve probably been a fan for a while. However, when a veteran death metal band such as Goatwhore creates new material for a seventh full-length album, there’s a good chance that the group is going to mix it up at some point. Such is the case with “Vengeful Ascension.”

The first thing I noticed during my initial listen of “Vengeful Ascension” is that the groove is noticeably slower compared to previous albums. The other thing I noticed is that the production is a little darker, almost dirty at times. If you’re a forgiving Goatwhore fan, there’s no issue at hand but if you were expecting a repeat performance of “Carving out the Eyes of God” or “Blood for the Master,” you might be disappointed.

With most of the album showing a different side of Goatwhore, there are some traditional skull crushers on “Vengeful Ascension.” A prime example of this is “Mankind Will Have No Mercy.” This is the Goatwhore I’m used to. Sammy’s riffing is on point and it has that “breakdown” that you’re used to hearing. The other song that grabbed my ear was the finishing track, “Those Who Denied God’s Will.” It has a black metal feel to it at times, mostly due to the extremely fast tempos and dissonant chording.

The bottom line is that this is a good album… butis it great??? Well, I’m just not willing to give it that praise. I will admit, I was hoping for a “Carving out the Eyes of God Part II.” Well, it didn’t happen and I probably need to get over it. In fact, I should honor the fact that Goatwhore has had this much success and is now able and willing to be more creative during the composition phase of the album. “Vengeful Ascension” is different side of heavy I haven’t heard from Goatwhore before.

Highs: More creative with the emphasis on more groove.

Lows: Not as many songs played at breakneck speed as previous albums.

Bottom line: “Vengeful Ascension” is the album that most hardcore Goatwhore fans knew was going to happen at some point. The question remains to be seen if the band will continue down this path or return to the sound that made Goatwhore a household name.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)